What is Hepatic Encephalopathy?

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Hepatic Encephalopathy

Hepatic encephalopathy is a liver complication where it is not able to remove pollutants from the blood. This leads to accumulation of toxins in the blood that can easily damage the brain. Hepatic encephalopathy can either be lingering or severe. In some situations, the patient may be unable to respond or get into a coma. Severe hepatic encephalopathy is caused by a severe liver disease. It mainly occurs in persons suffering from a sudden viral hepatitis, Reye’s syndrome which causes inflammation and swelling in the brain or liver and toxic hepatitis caused by contact with chemicals, alcohol, supplements or drugs. Severe hepatic encephalopathy is an indicator of fatal liver failure. Lingering hepatic encephalopathy can be recurrent or permanent. Permanent conditions are rare. When they happen, they are manifested in persons who do not respond to treatment and suffer from enduring neurological irregularities. Recurrent situation occur in persons who suffer from acute cirrhosis, also known as liver scarring.

Major Causes Hepatic of Encephalopathy

Though the exact source of hepatic encephalopathy is unknown, it is mainly brought about by accumulation of pollutants in the bloodstream and manifest when the liver stops functioning properly. The liver is responsible for removing pollutants left from metabolized proteins from the body. Pollutants are converted into safe substances that can be excreted through urine by kidneys. A damaged liver cannot filter pollutants and when kidneys are unable to finalize this process, the pollutants accumulate in the bloodstream. Accumulation of pollutants impairs nerves and organs. There are several factors that trigger hepatic encephalopathy. These include kidney problems, recent surgery, infections, dehydration, medications that suppress immunity, excess proteins, electrolyte imbalance and medications that subdue the central nervous system. Hepatic encephalopathy symptoms vary based on the underlying reason for liver damage. Major signs include personality changes, difficulty thinking, low concentration, forgetfulness, poor judgment, seizures, anxiety, fatigue, drowsiness and confusion.

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